This is odd. Bryan Caplan apparently wrote in his book on irrational voters:
There are countless issues that people care about, from gun control and abortion to government spending and the environment… If you know a person’s position on one, you can predict his view on the rest to a surprising degree. In formal statistical terms, political opinions look one-dimensional. They boil down to roughly one big opinion, plus noise.
So Weeden and Kurzban decided to test that out, and claimed Caplan was wrong.
Now the odd part. Here’s how Caplan responded: “Just one problem: I’m well-aware that the data aren’t tidy. Accurately predicting individual opinions is hard. I deliberately included the words ‘plus noise’ to ensure that readers knew I was not claiming great predictive powers” (emphasis original). Caplan concluded his post by saying, “If Weeden and Kurzban really wanted to dispute the one-dimensionality of political opinion, they should have been correlating specific issue views with ideology, not specific issue views with each other.”
I was going to expound on just how crazy this was, but in the comments Weeden himself chimes in:
This is just getting weird. You explicitly said of individual issues that “If you know a person’s position on one, you can predict his view on the rest to a surprising degree.” And we ran a test of that proposition, showing that it can be pretty weak stuff, depending on the issue pair. (I’ve got a blog post showing similar points here:http://www.pleeps.org/2014/06/30/if-being-routinely-liberal-or-conservative-is-a-human-universal-why-is-it-true-only-of-recent-college-educated-whites/)
But now you’re saying we should have known we were testing wrong thing! We shouldn’t have tested the thing we quoted you as having said, but, instead (obviously!) we should have tested something else…